Lebanese jewellery designer Stéphanie Cachard‘s lastest Céleste collection punctuates a subtle yet distinguishing feature of Arabic script: the dot. Cachard’s jewelry centralizes on the beauty of Lebanese-Arabic language, transposing elements of the Arabic script into modern and metallic ready-to-wear designs.
Cachard spent much time growing up in her family’s jewellery atelier in the heart of Beirut, a city where she is still based. She reminisces about the untouched quality of her childhood neighbourhood; “surrounded with beautiful traditional Lebanese houses” which have remained unchanged over the years, in contrast to the architectural modernisation that have happened in other parts of Beirut. It is the fragility of the ‘old’ and adaptation to the ‘new’ in Beirut which Cachard finds especially inspiring.
As an emerging designer, Stephanie Cachard has evolved her designs to become more conceptual over the past five years. Her first designs, Des Mots Doux (2012), started in a literal sense. Poetic traditional Arabic words in calligraphy were carved into rings and bracelet cuffs, giving it a metallic lace look when worn.
Cachard then carved Arabic words or names into small spheres set on rings and cuffs to emulate the look of a blossoming rose, hence the name of her second collection Bouton de Rose (2013). Adding to its precious aesthetic, the rounded balls are set with diamond. Much more indiscriminate and delicate than her first design; each piece in this collection offers a subtler reading of the word.
“Like roses, each piece of this collection keeps all the essence within, inviting people to take a closer look to fully grasp its meaning and elegance.”
Bouton de Rose was an important stepping stone in Cachard’s design trajectory. The spherical designs led her to focus on the dot element of Arabic calligraphy in her following collection, Little Dots (2014). It was her conceptual way of highlighting the “essence and structure of the letters”. The dot which Cachard features heavily in her work plays a major part in the Arabic language. Since many letters in the Arabic alphabet share a similar basic shape, they are only distinguishable from one another through the punctuation of one, two or three dots.
“It was my way of working with something old, and giving it something new.”
Each piece of Stéphanie Cachard‘s collections are handmade using traditional metal smithing and stone-setting methods. Her choice to use only sterling silver 925 and 18K gold is due to their ability to enhance colour and texture in her calligraphic designs. It also relates to the recurring theme of old and new: “silver tends to age with time whereas gold remains the same”.
The latest collection, Céleste, consist of mainly 18K gold (yellow and rose) rings, earrings and bracelet cuffs which show Cachard’s experimentation with the “intersection of a circle and a square”. The ready-to-wear collection harbours simplicity, modernity and sleekness. Although less intricate than its predecessors, the pieces in Céleste preserves shapes from Little Dots and the “oriental direction of previous collections”.
Ironically, whilst her work is all about Arabic calligraphy, Cachard admits that she has terrible handwriting. However, she makes her weakness her strength through jewellery design. The geometric quality of all Cachard’s pieces allows her clients to assemble their own compositions and shapes by mixing and matching from the various collections.
With special thanks to Stéphanie Cachard for her insight and press materials.
Written by Alice Pearce
Edited by Sonia Wan